The franchise first opened doors back in 1989 when co-founders David Corbett and Frank Eliel had the vision to start a sign franchising business in the UK. Since then the company has grown to include 70 production centres across the UK and Ireland, with the head office still remaining close to its roots in Norwich.
Both David and Frank recently retired from the business and the company saw a management buy-out in November 2013 with Managing Director Craig Brown, Operations Director Peter Sayles, National Sales Director Tony March and Finance Director Jonathan Bean.
Over the past year the four Directors of the franchise have focussed very heavily on improving the way in which the franchisees work together. At their annual convention last year the theme was ‘Making the Boat go Faster’ which drove the point home about how if we all work together to achieve our goals, we will achieve them better and quicker.
Craig Brown commented, “During the economic difficulties that all businesses have suffered during the recession, we wanted to protect our franchisees as much as possible. Our mission was to encourage feeling of ‘we’re all in this together.’ By working as a team, one big franchise family, we are all able to not only help ourselves, but help each other also.
We are all communicating better across the group – not only the necessary news but also the good news that often gets over looked but actually is a great motivator. We (as directors) are making more visits to our franchisees and offering even more support from our head office, which boasts a wealth of knowledge not only in the signage industry but also in IT, marketing, HR, business management and finance.
By becoming more forthright ourselves, we are creating an environment in which the rest of the group follow naturally and have opened communications not only between ourselves and the franchisees but amongst the individual centres as well.
We are delighted to have had all our hard work acknowledged and to be announced as finalists in this year’s BFA Franchisor of the Year award.”
Coincidentally, it’s not only Signs Express who is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, but also the BFA awards themselves. The awards recognise the achievements of franchisors and celebrate best practice policies, the categories include: Emerging Franchisor of the Year, Franchise Recruitment Award, Award for Innovation, Brand of the Year, Award for International Achievement and Franchisor of the Year and judging will take place on 22 May 2014.